The Man's Guide to Looking Great for a Date

Whether it’s your first time out together or your fortieth time out together, there’s a certain sense of nervousness that comes with getting ready for a date. The expectation is that you’ll look well put-together—like you actually put some time into getting ready—but not like you’re high-maintenance or vain. Unlike getting ready for a job interview or a wedding, there aren’t clear-cut tried-and-true rules to getting ready for a date as the expectations differ depending on your plans for the evening. If you find yourself stuck on how to get ready for a date, this guide can push you in the right direction.

Go Slightly More Formal Than Usual

While the dress code isn’t set for dates in general, the idea is that you should look about a half a step more formal than the location actually calls for. So, for example, if you’re going out to a pub where the dress code would be jeans and a t-shirt, you might do jeans, a t-shirt, and an open button-up shirt to look a little less casual while still fitting into the environment. If, on the other hand, you’re going out to a dinner where jeans and a button-up would be the norm, you might go with dress pants, a button-up, and a leather jacket.

Iron Your Pants

Regardless of where you’re going for date night, one rule remains consistent: You should iron your pants. Even if you’re both just going to hang out with friends and you are planning to wear jeans, ironing them is the difference between looking like you cared about presentation for the evening and looking like you pulled something out of the hamper at the last minute. Dressing for a date is all about showing that you wanted to impress the other person, so take the extra time to pull out the ironing board for this one occasion.

Wear a Pop of Color

Unlike a job interview, where navy and black are the safest courses, on a date, you want to wear a pop of color. Subconsciously, this will ensure that you remain the focus of your date’s attention, while also making you look adventurous and at ease. If you’re not used to wearing a pop of color, the easiest way to incorporate it into your wardrobe is to wear a dark neutral on bottom, like black slacks or dark-wash jeans, and to wear a brightly-colored shirt on top.


Guys often make the mistake of thinking that accessories refer to the shiny necklaces and earrings that girls are prone to wearing to dates, but guys should be accessorizing as well. A leather belt and a good watch can enhance your outfit, transforming you from a run-of-the-mill date to a guy who really knows how to put himself together.

Bring a Small Gift

Bringing a small gift with you to give to your date when you go to pick them up tells them that you’re really interested in them and that you care for them. Your choice in a gift can also show whether you pay attention to the things they tell you. While staples like flowers, chocolates, or a bottle of wine are almost always a safe choice, gifting them something personalized to an experience you’ve shared together can put the date night gift over the top.

You don’t need a personal assistant to look nice for a night out. Spending a little extra time getting ready and paying attention to how you accessorize your outfit can mean the difference between looking like you ran out the door five minutes before you were supposed to pick your date up and looking like you carefully planned the evening. At the end of the day, looking nice for a date is all about looking like you care about the other person enough to put some effort in.